Signifying Closeness and Respectful Distance through the Choice of Address Forms

Author: Nor Shahila Mansor (Universiti Putra Malaysia)
Speaker: Nor Shahila Mansor
Topic: General Sociolinguistics
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


This study aims at finding out the choices of address terms and the reason of using such address forms in Malay culture. This is a descriptive qualitative research. However, number and percentage was also used to support the analysis of the data. In this research, the choices of address forms are collected from a Malay movie Bisik pada Langit (Whisper to the Sky) which is considered to better reflect social reality by portraying various interpersonal relationships in different situations. In collecting the data, the researcher re-transcribed the dialogue transcript by watching the movie, and the data taken are the interactions which contain address forms.

This analysis revealed three findings: there were seven types of address forms used by the characters in the movie such as kinship terms, title, pet name, etc.; there were three functions of address terms performed in the movie by the characters and, there were seven social factors that influenced the characters in using certain types of address terms. One of the factors significant in addressing the person is age. As Malay culture constitutes a significantly high respect for elder people, this address form towards elders supercedes that of the address towards younger addressee. The context of situation and the level of intimacy are two other important factors that influence in the choices of address terms.


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Keywords: Address terms, Malay culture, Language, Politeness, Movie